Please provide statistics around the effectiveness of Crowdsourcing in North America.
The best way to determine the effectiveness of crowdsourcing is by example since it is used in a variety of industries & for various reasons. While firm statistics are available for crowdfunding, crowdsourcing is often more subjective. Some of the successful applications of crowdsourcing include governmental and military uses, customer satisfaction, arts and gaming, science, and healthcare. While the following provides a general overview, if there is any interest in a more specific vertical, Wonder would be happy to provide a deeper dive.
Using the basic definition of crowdsourcing which states it “is the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, especially an online community, rather than from employees or suppliers,” many applications have been found.
Canada’s government has begun to use crowdsourcing as a measure to track marijuana prices, as well as the impact on the economy. Using information submitted voluntarily, the government plans to use this crowdsourcing campaign to keep track of the production, distribution, and consumption of marijuana. While no specific statistics are available about the efficacy of this project, the crowd did provide estimates that around US$5 billion worth of marijuana was consumed in the country in 2015.
The United States Air Force used crowdsourcing to improve pilot re-enlistment, launching the Airmen Powered by Innovation Initiative in 2014. The plan was to “improve procedures, remove pointless activities, and reduce costs.” The Air Force received nearly 7,000 ideas, of which 192 were implemented, saving $121.3 million.
In a 2017 study done on how effective crowdsourcing can be, it was found that Netflix was able to apply over 44,000 submissions to improve their recommendation engine by 10%. Other successful crowdsourcing campaigns include Starbucks, which in 2008 launched My Starbucks Ideas, and received over 300,000 submissions to help improve customer satisfaction, as well as innovation.
The Detroit Institute of Arts used crowdsourcing to create a film archive in 2017. They received more than 600 reels of home videos, created by families anywhere from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. Also, Minecraft’s parent company, Mojang, uses crowdsourcing to build new worlds and features for the games. They have also used crowdsourcing to “examine documents related to a lawsuit brought by two other game makers.”
NASA, incredibly, used crowdsourcing to successfully solve the problem of exposure to cosmic rays on the International Space Station. They received over 1,000 potential solutions to reduce exposure, and the four people who suggested the most useful possible solutions were compensated.
In the healthcare field, Canada’s Global Public Health Intelligence Network was able to detect early outbreaks of SARS in 2003 and Avian Flu in 2010 through crowdsourcing. This happened months before the World Health Organization was able to detect the mass spread of these diseases, effectively preventing a pandemic. Another example of healthcare crowdsourcing, though on a global level instead of strictly North American, is the PatientsLikeMe network. This network contains over 400,000 members and allows them to connect to people with similar diseases or conditions and to track and share information. This helps generate data about the “real-world nature of disease,” leading to better products and treatments.
Crowdfunding, while a form of crowdsourcing, is slightly different in its endgame. The point of crowdfunding is to allow “firms and entrepreneurs to raise and collect funds from investors, contributors and donors.” Platforms such as Kickstarter allow artists and other entities to raise money through non-traditional means. Massolution is an integrated marketing company that tracks crowdfunding. They state that crowdfunding was able to raise $16.2 billion globally, which grew 167% from 2016 to 2017. That number is expected to grow to $34 billion in 2018. In North America alone, crowdfunding grew by 145% in the same time span, to roughly $9.46 billion. “Business & entrepreneurship accounted for nearly half of all money raised while real estate crowdfunding continued to grow in popularity” It is found that teams raise significantly more money than single person campaigns, and updating the campaign regularly can raise up to 126% more than those campaigns that do not update.
Some of the most successful applications of crowdsourcing involve arts and the sciences, such as NASA's use of submitted approaches to help reduce the effects of cosmic radiation on the International Space Station. Other uses include customer service, military and government uses, and healthcare.